Editor: Across our country, much debate is taking place in response to disturbing police activities, particularly as it pertains to law enforcement’s interactions with Americans of African ancestry. The subsequent protests of police brutality have led to a broader review of systemic oppression in our nation, and a calling to discontinue the honoring of historical figures who would not subscribe to the American ideals of liberty and justice for all.
Loudoun County has not escaped this review, as our Board of Supervisors is debating what to do with a statue memorializing the Confederacy. While the scope of this opinion is not intended to holistically address the complexities and nuances of bigotry as expressed in memorials, statutes, and institutions, I would like to clearly state my agreement with the call to remove memorials to the Confederacy from public property and relocate them to museums. If Benedict Arnold’s legacy is infamy, why should a treacherous army live in honored reverence?
Therefore, if our principles propel us to the conclusion that memorials, statues, and institutions originated in prejudice are inherently un-American and unworthy of honor, what do we do with Planned Parenthood? Margaret Sanger, the institution’s founder, was a woman who once spoke of fears that the garden of American children would become a “disorderly back lot overrun with human weeds” (1924), and proudly volunteered her willingness to effectively engage with the Ku Klux Klan (Margaret Sanger, “An Autobiography,” Page 366). Sanger explicitly stated her worldview on humanity and procreation in a February 1919 article published in “The Birth Control Review,” suggesting sterilization for the feeble minded as an appropriate course of action.
Admittedly, these quotes and references provide merely circumstantial evidence of Sanger’s prejudice; however, her legacy is inarguably Planned Parenthood, and a brief review of their activity is enough to consider their motives. For instance, does it alarm Americans that nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are located within walking distance of minority communities (Family Research Center, 5 May 2014)? Is it shocking that nearly two-thirds of all abortions are performed on Americans of African and Hispanic descent, according to the CDC’s 2010 abortion surveillance report? For comparison, African-Americans and Hispanics make up 56 percent of the prison population (Pew Research Center, April 2019), which is often cited as a fact suggesting systemic oppression. What then, do we do with Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics, who disproportionately takes the lives of ethnic minorities at a greater rate than the justice system imprisons them? Furthermore, what do we do with the underlying principle which provides the legal framework for abortions?
Today, all Americans are appalled by the three-fifths compromise, which was reached by elected legislators determining the value and worth of another soul; yet many applaud the justice system which still allows one human to determine the value and worth of another—as if the child is mere property. This hypocrisy is a stain on our republic, and minority children are the most affected by this system of oppression.
Thomas Black, Leesburg